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Recorded by Helen M. Smith, Field Recorder

I was born in Missouri in 1859, and went with my parents to Texas at the age of about five years. We stayed in that state only a year or two, going to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. In 1883 at the age of twenty-four, I came to Arizona, where I have remained ever since.

I ranged back and forth between Arizona and New Mexico during the early part of my life in this state. For a while I held a job with the Diamond A Company of New Mexico.

I saw several acts of violence in Arizona; but then I was used to that sort of thing. I was used to hard work, too. In Indian Territory I worked a plot of ground at eight years of age. I ploughed a yoke of oxen, beginning at daylight and with no stop until dark except time out for dinner at noon. This was not an occasional event, but my daily routine as long as ploughing was necessary. When that time was over, there was plenty of other work to be done.

One day my father sent me to the blacksmith in a little settlement nearby to get some ploughshares sharpened. I rode our pony, “Cream and Peaches”, tying the shares to the saddle with a piece of rope. When I got out in front of the blacksmith shop, I heard angry voices. Several men came out about that time, the blacksmith last, pulling his gun as he came. There were more words, then some shooting, and when the smoke cleared away there were three men dead and one seriously wounded. I was very frightened and fled up the street. Soon the deputy came down toward me. On talking about the fracas and hearing what I knew, he allowed me to follow him back to the shop. There was no one there except the dead and wounded. The deputy was a little afraid to go after the redheaded blacksmith; so he sent me to find him and tell him he was wanted at the Marshall’s office, saying that he would not hurt a child, but might be tough for a deputy to handle. I looked around a bit, finally locating the blacksmith at his ferry—he was also ferryman at the river—where he was calmly seated on an overturned box, playing his fiddle. He went with me willingly enough, but what transpired at the Marshall’s office I have forgotten, if I ever knew. I was a small boy, and the only fact which impressed me, aside from the shooting part, was that I had to carry my ploughshares home unsharpened.

It was only a few years after that when the Lee brothers were killed. They had killed the relative of a rich man, who offered seventeen thousand dollars reward for them dead or alive. I was ploughing up some new land at some distance from the house, when these brothers rode up to me, asking for a drink of water. I let them drink from my jug, and while they were drinking, the United States Marshall, named “Hook” Thomas, rode up on them. They hid in the tufts of grass nearby, but the Marshall was as cute as they were, fighting them from the same cover they used, tufts of grass. I saw both these outlaws killed by this Marshall, who afterwards collected the reward.

Another time Father sent me to look for a sow which he thought had pigged. I rode astride a pony, searching in brush and any likely cover for the sow. As I rode along toward a little group of trees, buzzards rose in large numbers. I thought that the sow might be there, dead, so I rode into the cover of the trees, and there I found a dead man. I was afterward told that he was a horse thief who had been followed by vengeful owners of stolen stock, and shot. He must have ridden in there to die.
Such incidents were commonplace in the life of a boy as far west as we were living, and we thought little of them.

While I was working for the Diamond A, I was sent to help an engineer named Powell with some survey work. We came down into Mexico to survey that part of Slaughter’s land grant which lay in Mexico. With our party was Powell, the engineer, an ex-governor of one of the Mexican states named Picheco, John Harper, and several Mexicans. Picheco had a cook and a driver or chauffeur.

John Slaughter did not approve of this survey, and it seemed that there might be trouble. We avoided it by surveying a larger piece of land, including that owned by Mr. Slaughter in the survey. We made camp at the south-western corner of his grant, just off his land.

There was soon trouble at camp. The chauffeur began eating one day before the cook was ready. The cook took a shovel to the chauffeur, and Picheco took up for the cook. The chauffeur quit, and we had some little trouble in finding another chauffeur, without which the ex-governor would have lost much of his dignity.

Powell sent me to cut numbers on a tree which he sighted near the top of a mountain, which numbers would complete the survey. I had quite a lot of trouble in reaching my objective because of the roughness of the ground. After completing what I was assigned to do, I decided to return to camp by any other route than the one by which I had come. I descended the hill to a wash which ran toward camp, and which I began to follow. Soon I noticed a bear’s tracks in the sand. I climbed a little way up the hill, not wishing to encounter the bear at close quarters. I saw three bears before I reached camp. Before I reached camp I also encountered wild turkey. There was a thicket up a little slope, and I noticed accidently that this thicket was alive with wild grapes and wild turkeys, among which were some splendid gobblers.

We started back for the Diamond A on completing our survey, bidding goodbye to the ex-governor. Soon we came across some pools which contained  some fine fish. I made a seine from several gunnysacks sewed together, and we enjoyed fresh fish for several days, camping where we were until we tired of them.

We went into headquarters at Deming to get paid for our work, but as we arrived late at night the bookkeeper refused to pay us off, saying that he did not work after office hours. We were hungry, tired, unshaven, ragged, and absolutely broke. If I had not happened to meet a friend who loaned us a ten dollar bill, we would have been out of luck entirely, as we were not acquainted in Deming. With the ten dollar bill in my pocket, however, I felt bold enough, and pounded on the door of an eating house. The girl who came refused to admit us, and called the woman who was running the place. She called us tramps and threatened to call the police, but admitted us quickly enough when I showed her the money. The girl was not so well pleased—it was merely extra work for her. The next day we drifted on up near the Arizona line, where we had been working.
I mined a little in New Mexico, then came to Arizona again. I was in a little camp near Clifton when Black Jack Ketchum rode in and killed a man. The sheriff got in several shots at this outlaw as he rode out of town, but none of them touched him. A little fellow with a little thirty-two also fired at Black Jack, but with no success.

A little later I attended a dance nearby, going to the building on horseback. Several outlaws also attended, one bringing his girl in a buggy. In the course of the dance there was a fight, and the outlaw with the girl was shot. The girl held him up –he was too badly hit to stand alone—and he shot it out with the others, putting them to flight and injuring a by-stander as well. This outlaw realized that he would have to get out before the law got on his trail, so he asked me to take his buggy and horse and take the girl home, giving him my horse. This I did, acquiring a buggy as well as a horse. I do not know whether the fellow ever got away safely, or recovered from his injuries.

I drifted over into the San Simon Valley, and from there to Sulphur Spring Valley. There I went to work for Jake Schearer, and soon we leased a mine in the Chiricahuas together. This mine, the Great American, was a silver mine supposed to be very rich; however I believe everyone who ever tried to work there, lost. I know we did, and gave it up as a bad job. The rumor of riches still hangs around it, however, and even today leasers are working there in an attempt to succeed where others failed.

I worked at one thing and another until the C& A Smelter opened up in Douglas, when I went to work for them, staying there thirty-four years. I bought a home on Seventeenth Street, paying for it at the rate of eleven dollars and twenty-five cents per month. I have raised a family of ten children, but have little to list as an accomplishment otherwise.

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